Making Math Fun for My Kids
Math was the subject that came much easier than language arts. When the girls were young, I found using colorful math worksheets kept their interest. We utilized items in the kitchen and pantry when visuals were required. There’s nothing like a bag of M&Ms to reward correct calculations.
As the kids grew, each child displayed strengths and weaknesses in different math objectives. I choose different math programs according to their learning styles and personalities.
One daughter loved Saxon math with it’s easy to understand written instructions, while another daughter leaned more heavily on the video
instruction that accompanied Teaching Textbooks.
To reinforce math and give a little more real world use, we used shopping trips to the grocery store and compared prices. Having the kids learn how to convert weights in order to calculate per unit measurements can be fun when you make it a competition while walking down the aisle.
To our kids, competition equals fun, so finding everyday ways of creating a friendly rivalry went a long way. In the car, we asked who could calculate arrival time using distance and speed. When traveling to homeschool conventions, the kids and I would discuss business math as we calculated profits and expenses.
Math is all around us, and with a little bit of ingenuity, you can make it fun for all.
The Well Planned Gal Team
I asked my team to share what has worked in their families. Here’s what they had to say!
Sometimes it’s less about a specific resource and more about getting a feel for your child. My oldest is a very creative thinker, so math facts and flashcards were pure torture for her! She needed games and art to learn math. Because my brain doesn’t work that way, I couldn’t easily come up with great tricks, so we both stayed frustrated. Finally, I started asking her how she wanted to work on math each day. Her ideas were usually full of creativity and fun, and they often felt far too time-consuming and annoying for this practical mama. But, where days of flashcards had failed, 30 minutes of her creative games would succeed. It was worth it!
My kids are very different learners, and this especially shows up in math instruction. One of my children is an auditory learner, so I used songs and YouTube videos to teach math facts and concepts. A traditional workbook-based approach worked with this child most of the time, too. For my other child, a very kinesthetic learner, I had to use completely different strategies and resources. We used manipulatives of all kinds, including food (a favorite!). We also used a lot of real-world application, such as money for learning addition and multiplication and cooking for learning fractions. I had to use trial and error to find a math curriculum that worked well for my mover and shaker.
This particular trick came from mother-in-law, who’s a long time teacher. Graph paper is a must once they hit the long division and large number multiplication problems! Writing the numbers in the squares helps keep all of the rows of numbers straight and keep the digits in the right place. We always stock up on the graph paper when the back-to-school sales are on.
We have used base ten manipulatives, flashcards, and Learning Wrap-Ups off and on. Sometimes we play addition, subtraction, or multiplication War. Simply flip two cards instead of one; the highest sum, difference, or product wins. I have recently started using a free math facts app that the boys enjoy.